Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Umatilla National Forest Morning Fire Update

News Contact: Darcy Weseman, (541) 278-3722
Aug. 22, 2018 - 11:45 a.m.

PENDLETON, Ore. – Firefighters continue to make progress on wildfires caused by the recent thunderstorms. As expected, new smoke reports continue to be discovered and fire managers expect more throughout the next few days as the smoke in the area lifts and weather conditions continue to stay warm and dry.
The Harrison Fire remains 30 acres and is now 50% lined. The fire is located 16 miles west of Sumpter, Oregon, within the Greenhorn unit of the North Fork John Day Wilderness on the North Fork John Day Ranger District. This section of the wilderness is remote and in steep terrain, making access difficult.  Yesterday fire behavior consisted of group torching that sent spots ahead of the main fire. Aerial resources were key in helping slow the fire’s spread as firefighters worked to complete fire line around the flanks of the fire. A spot fire was discovered today around 6 a.m. and estimated at a quarter of an acre in size. Firefighters are engaged in suppressing the spot fire while continuing to build and strengthen fire line around the main fire.  A helicopter is supporting ground resources today by dropping water and cooling hot spots. Resources on scene include 20 firefighters, air attack and one helicopter. An area, trail and road closure within the vicinity of the Harrison Fire has been implemented as of today at 6 a.m.  A map and detailed description of the area closure is available at any Umatilla National Forest office and at the bottom of this news release.   
Fire lines held overnight on the Gilman Fire, located near Gilman Flats on the Heppner Ranger District and Prineville Bureau of Land Management lands that are protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. The fire remains 950 acres in size and 35% contained. Today firefighters will continue to construct control lines and secure the perimeter of the fire to reduce the risk of fire moving outside the perimeter lines. Firefighters are focusing today on building fire line in the Ditch Creek area to keep the fire out of the bottom of the drainage.  Two helicopters are on scene supporting ground resources today by dropping water and cooling hots spots. Currently 160 people are assigned to the fire, including several resources from the Oregon Department of Forestry. Grant County has issued a Level 1 Pre-Evacuation Fire Advisory for the area of Monument, Ritter, Dale and Middle and North Fork communities. The advisory area extends from Hwy 402, north to the Grant County line, and Hwy 395 west to the Grant County line. Residents in the area should make advance preparations and stay tuned for further updates. For additional information on this pre-evacuation fire advisory please visit and click on the emergency alert system link.
Firefighters were successful yesterday on the Mallory Creek Fire, which is now 100% contained. Fire crews are continuing mop up today and securing containment lines. This fire is a half of an acre in size and located 5 miles south of Penland Lake on the Heppner Ranger District.
Fire lines held overnight on the Low Ridge Fire, which consists of two fires located within the Mill Creek Watershed near Indian Ridge approximately 17 miles SE of Walla Walla, Washington on the Walla Walla Ranger District. Low Ridge Fire 1 remains at 2.5 acres and is 90% contained. Firefighters will be mopping up hot spots today within the fire perimeter. Fire managers anticipate that mop up activities will take several days to secure, due to the steep, rocky terrain in the area and heavy brush and snags. Resources on scene include five smokejumpers, five firefighters from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and a 10-person hand crew from Alaska. The Low Ridge 2 Fire is a tenth of an acre in size and fully contained.
The Pomeroy Ranger District picked up one new fire, the Hardy 2 Fire, which is less than a tenth of an acre in size located near Hard to Get to Ridge, 20 miles south of Pomeroy, Washington. The fire was reported on Aug. 21 at 5:45 p.m. and is burning in grass and timber near the location of the Hardy Fire, which was declared out yesterday. Three firefighters are on scene and the fire is 100% lined.
Weather conditions continue to be warm and dry over the next few days. Fire officials want to remind everyone that the current fire danger rating remains at EXTREME and Public Use Restrictions involving campfires and chainsaw use are in effect.
Similar restrictions may be in effect on State and private lands protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA-DNR).  More information can be found on the WA-DNR website at:  

For more information regarding Restrictions, please contact:
Umatilla National Forest:
Information Hotline: Toll-Free (877) 958-9663
Twitter: @UmatillaNF

The latest fire information will be posted on the Blue Mountains Fire Information Blog. To receive updates on fires in the Blue Mountains, follow our blog at

Harrison Fire Closure Description

The area closure includes:
The area within following the following boundary; starting at the Ben Harrison Trail Head heading north/north east along the North Fork John Day (NFJD) Wilderness boundary towards the junction of where the NFJD Wilderness boundary intersects the Lost Creek Trail (National Forest System Trail (NFST) 3002), then south along NFST 3002 to the junction of the Ben Harrison Trial (NFST 3173), then west along the NFST 3173 back to the Ben Harrison Trail Head. The area is approximately 6,575 areas in size. Prohibited access does not apply to access or use of the 10 road.

The trail closures include:
·       National Forest System Trail (NFST) 3173 - East of the Ben Harrison Trailhead on the Ben Harrison Trial to the Junction of NFST 3002 of Lost Creek Trail

·       National Forest System Trail (NFST) 3002 - Lost Creek Trail south of the Lost Creek Saddle Camp Trailhead

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